Terror Panic Spreads through Heartland
A Disassociated Press Report, Atlanta, GA, February 2, 2007
[Written in response to the unfortunate Boston Mooninite Scare]
By Eric Mader
The Department of Homeland Security on Friday raised the terror alert level to orange in the wake of an increase in reports of suspicious objects in various locales across the US, according to department Secretary Michael Chertoff.
Police in Bloomington, Minnesota received calls Friday morning reporting the presence at the Mall of America of several large, rectangular devices that emitted a faint, electronic humming. The devices, described as being "around the size of a refrigerator," were found near parking lots and washrooms, and had been painted over with the Coca Cola logo, apparently in an effort to disguise them.
"The devices also showed various soft drinks in a panel on the front, perhaps to attract children," Deputy Police Chief Michael Stolz speculated at a press briefing.
"According to standard procedure, first we cleared out the mall and cordoned off the area," Stolz said. "Then the bomb squad came in and blew one of the devices up. It appeared to contain mostly carbonated liquids and coins."
Reports of similar devices at transportation hubs and in several public buildings had police and emergency crews on high alert. Preparations to evacuate parts of the city were only cut short when a representative of the Coca Cola company contacted Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead to explain that the devices were part of a soft drink distribution scheme.
Deparment of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff praised the fast reaction on the part of Bloomington authorities.
"The devices in question could have contained almost anything," Chertoff said on CNN. "They were large enough to hold an armed nuclear weapon that could have killed everyone in the city. They could have held a dirty bomb. Residents were right to be worried and to react with caution."
Meanwhile in two suburbs of Atlanta concerned citizens reported elaborate networks of wiring that had been set up along important roadways.
"I was driving to work and there they were," schoolteacher Lisa Holland said. "All along the road, this vast network of wires. I got on my phone and called it in immediately."
Police soon confirmed that someone had raised up an evenly spaced series of tall wooden poles and draped heavy guage wires along the tops.
"It continues for miles," State Police Detective Lieutenant Martin Foley said. "It's really quite frightening the extent of it. There must be thousands of these poles out there."
"We're still trying to determine the purpose of these poles and wires," Chertoff said. "The extent of the plot is mind-boggling. Only an organization with vast resources could have set up a network like this. So far we've found similar wiring running along roads and highways in nearly twenty states."
Chertoff speculated that the network of poles might be part of a vast communications system being used to "spy on American citizens . . . in preparation for some major attack."
In Colorado, police received calls from worried residents who awoke Friday morning to find mysterious devices placed on nightstands and dressers in their bedrooms. Several residents reported the devices featured a timer and had a large button on the top.
"I stood there watching it, afraid to move," Marcie Kaufmann said of the device she noticed on her nightstand. "Then suddenly it began buzzing very loudly. I almost had a heart attack."
In other news, the US Census Bureau reported that with the ageing population the country had reached a new milestone. According to the most reliable data, the average age of US citizens has finally surpassed the average IQ, the figures being 34 and 33 respectively.
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